Even without LeBron James, the LA Lakers easily walked through Chase Center, hammering the Golden State Warriors, 116-86. It was the 45th win of the season for the purple and gold, who is confidently keeping its first place in the Western Conference.
The Lakers got this one mostly due to a fantastic performance in the third period. Frank Vogel’s guys outscored the Warriors 40-17 in that part of the game. They would make a 29-7 run, to get away from 65-62 to 94-69, which was the result at the end of the third sequence.
“Tonight was a step backward in the second half. I was very disappointed in all the turnovers,” said Steve Kerr following the game.
It were the moments in which the hosts didn’t know what hit them, and on the other side, shots were falling easily for the Lakers. The LAL was 13-for-17 for three, and 3-for-6 for three, scoring 12 unanswered points in one surge. Many were being afraid because of LeBron James’ absence, and particularly after the halftime once Golden State stood close to the team from LA. However, it turned out to be wrong.
“We just locked in,” said Kyle Kuzma. “We were disappointed with what happened in the first half.”
The first two quarters didn’t indicate such a high margin in the end. The opening one ended with a draw 24-24, while the second saw the Lakers gaining a lead, but they couldn’t pull away entirely. Eventually, GSW got back in the saddle, and cut down the deficit to only two points at the break. Still, the hurricane came after that and sunk their hopes of a surprise.
Anthony Davis had a team-high with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 hits in 12 free throws. Kyle Kuzma played excellent, leading the second unit with 18 points in 29 minutes.
“Any time I’m being asked to do a bigger role, I try to be myself,” he said. “This year, it’s all about sacrificing, just try to win, to fit in.”
Dwight Howard was near a double-double with 13 points and 9 boards. Three players had 12 points each, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, and Avery Bradley.
This was the 18th win on the road against one Western Conference team for the LAL. Although the Warriors are not some big challenge, seeing the Lakers handling the business like this and being able to control the situation without LBJ on the road, boosts the morale ahead of the next two stops.
“We have a sense of urgency on the road, trying to win to get things done, and tonight it was just another case for that,” Kuz explained.
On the other side, Eric Paschall dropped 23 buckets, Jordan Poole had 16 and 8 assists, Damion Lee 15 with 6 boards. The home team was 9-for-32 for three.
Up next, the Lakers (45-12) are going to Memphis to meet the Grizzlies and, after that, are coming to New Orleans to play against the Pelicans, whom they defeated a few days ago. Following all that, they have three very tough challenges at home vs. 76ers, Bucks and the Clippers.
The Warriors (12-47) will travel a lot in the next few days. Steve Kerr’s guys are going to Phoenix at first, then come back home to meet the Wizards, before jumping to Denver to face the Nuggets. After that, they have a clash with the champions, and their rivals form the previous NBA Finals, Toronto Raptors at Chase Center.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.